Crazy Comparison! Leica vs Nikonos
by Huss Hardan – His website is HERE
Ah Leica. A name surrounded by mystique and intertwined with mythology while coated with a heavy layer of majesty. Dump that in a blender and pour yourself a street shooting smoothie..
Ah Nikonos. The deep sea diver’s tool moist with the acrid low tide flavour of kelp ripening in the sun. And yet, a far better street shooter than a Leica.
What the what? Yep.
So I had a shoot in downtown LA. And it was raining. Which finally gave me the reason to use a Nikonos. Rain. Because as we all know every other camera on the planet would dissolve like tissue paper if it gets wet.
I brought two cameras along, the Nikonos with the standard 35mm 2.5 amphibious lens, and my Leica M240 with the Lomo 32 2.8 lens. Pretty much the smallest lens you can get on that camera (essentially a body cap), which was what I needed as it would be under my jacket most of the time. Because rain.
What seemingly is a ridiculous comparison bears a little considerate thought. The lenses are very similar in focal length and speed – 32 vs 35, 2.8 vs 2.5. And are both Full Frame items. The Leica is a rangefinder camera – THE street shooter set up as everyone who takes pics of cats will tell you. But the Nikonos – it is a scale focus camera which for this type of photography is perfect. Street shooters scale focus their Leicas too – they don’t have the time to focus and recompose while they are capturing that decisive moment in line at Starbucks.
The Nikonos has the most ginormous optical viewfinder, as it was designed to be used with a diving helmet. Or at least goggles. A viewfinder so large that you can put two or three Leica VFs in there. And still have room to watch your subject enter the frame. It also has auto and manual exposure modes, something that only one film Leica ever has offered since the dawn of peoplekind. It is indestructible; mine in the picture survived a crash that had it skimming down the road like a hockey puck. That my friends is how you create patina. ( I had made the mistake of handing someone my beer while I tried to launch off a sweet jump).
Cutting to the chase. Nikonos was loaded with Fuji Provia 100. Film. Period. How it’s done.
Leica was loaded with, I dunno, electric stuff that phones also have?
Same subject, taken at the same time. With 1:1 crop to show detail.
Nikonos with provia 100
Leica and Lomo – 1st image, then 1:1 crop
Cost of the Leica (without lens) – about $3000 second hand. Offered in silver or black. Wake me up when it’s tea time.
Nikonos V – about $200 including the lens. Offered in Liquid Voodo Orange or Mars Attacks Green. Awesome!